Book Review: The Domesticated Brain by Bruce Hood

Book Review: The Domesticated Brain by Bruce Hood

This is a riveting read from one of the leading lights of modern psychology, Bruce Hood of the University of Bristol. The book’s main premise is that 20,000 years ago our brains were 10% larger than what they are today. And that the reason for this is primarily the influence of social practices, culture and…

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Book Review: A Death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Book Review: A Death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgaard

* No plot spoilers in this review  A Death in the Family is Book 1 of the My Struggle six part autobiography of Karl Ove Knausgaard. This mammoth six part memoir really grabs a hold to the marrow of his family, friends and sexual relationships - the blood and bone. A Death in the Family…

Book Review: Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg https://wp.me/p41CQf-KRb

Book Review: Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg

*Contains no spoilers Born and brought up in Sweden, Karin Altenberg moved to Britain to study in 1996. She holds a PhD in Archaeology and is currently senior advisor to the Swedish National Heritage Board and a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London. Island of Wings is her first novel. It's the dazzling and…

Book Review: Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Book Review: Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Jon Kabat Zinn is a Professor Emeritus of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and is the founder of a stress reduction technique called MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction), which is used in hospitals and medical centres throughout the world. He is a student of Thich Nhat Hanh and a life-long teacher and…

Book Review: A Man Called Ove

Book Review: A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman

Another book from Scandinavia this time from debut novelist Fredrick Backman. Originally in Swedish, A Man Called Ove is a universally appealing narrative about a curmudgeonly old man who seems to encounter infuriating people and annoying situations at every turn, when all he wants is to be left in peace. Since being published, A Man…

Book Review: Boyhood Island by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Book Review: A Man in Love by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Book Two of the Min Kemp (My Struggle) in the series of six autobiographical volumes is possibly the least adventurous of his stories although still no less compelling and compulsively readable as the other ones. If you are unfamiliar with Karl Ove Knausgaard then you must have been living under a rock. He has been…

Book Review: Boyhood Island by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Book Review: Boyhood Island by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Boyhood Island is a no nonsense autobiographical tale of a boy called Karl Ove Knausgaard, aged 6-13 years old and his everyday adventures living and growing on the island of Tromøya, Norway in the late 70's. This is a strange and unusual novel in that it doesn’t follow traditional novelistic or storytelling conventions. It’s a meandering…

Book reviews

Book Review: A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

Hi, my name is Nao. I am a time being. Do you know what a time being is? Well if you give me a moment, I will tell you. A time being is someone who lives in time, and that means you, and me and every one of us who is, or ever was, or…

One Year Wiser by Mike Medaglia http://mikemedaglia.com/

Book Review: One Year Wiser by Mike Medaglia

Imagine if you will, a delightful and timeless book of wisdom that fits into the palm of the hand or your handbag. A hardback that looks at first inconspicuous and unimportant. And yet on opening this book you will unlock a treasury of wisdom that's beautifully illustrated on high quality paper. One Year Wiser by…

Book Review: The Lonely City by Olivia Laing

Book Review: The Lonely City by Olivia Laing

The Lonely City by Olivia Laing is a mixture of reportage, biography and creative non-fiction. Weaving together strands of history, philosophy and art, Laing explores one of the last taboos of humanity which is loneliness. This is an alarming and at times uncomfortable book to read if you have been or are now lonely. Yet…

Book Review: 'Les Diners de Gala' Salvadore Dali's delectable and twisted psychedelic cook-book

Book Review: ‘Les Diners de Gala’ Salvadore Dali’s delectable and twisted psychedelic cook-book

Salvador Dalí isn't generally remembered for his culinary prowess. Although he was a secret admirer of gastronomy for all of its transformative and monstrous properties. In his rare and 1973 cookbook Les Diners de Gala, just reissued by Taschen. the late iconic artist celebrates dream-like and surreal flavour combinations. Chapter titles include Prime Lilliputian malaises’ (meat)…

Every Picture Tells A Story: Nest Of The Lemon-Breasted Flycatcher

Nothing passes from rest to motion – unless you move it in hidden ways

You glide between the heart and its casing as tears glide from the eyelid. You dwell in my inwardness, in the depths of my heart, as souls dwell in bodies. Nothing passes from rest to motion unless you move it in hidden ways, O new moon. ~ Mansur al-Hallaj (Persia, 9th century)  

Book Review: Today, Tomorrow and Everyday

Book Review: Today, Tomorrow and Everyday by M.H. Clark

You know how you sometimes have those days, or even weeks or months when you feel un-moored to the shoreline and adrift in a lost world, floating aimlessly, feeling sad or morose? This is the kind of book every woman needs to feel found again. It's that miraculous book that brings you right back to…

Book Review: To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey

Book Review: To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey

Eowyn Ivey is a master craftswoman and her sentences are smooth and flowing like treacle. Her debut the Snow Child was one of my favourite novels. It told the magical tale of a child that emerges out of the icy Alaskan tundra and provides an ageing couple yearning for a baby, with the promise of…

Book Review: Their Lips Talk of Mischief by Alan Warner

Book Review: Their Lips Talk of Mischief by Alan Warner

Scottish writer Alan Warner's novel Their Lips Talk of Mischief is a boisterous, vigorous and energetic novel about two literary wannabes (Lou and Douglas) living in a glum 80's Thatcherite slumland in Britain. The pair share an interest in Lou's enigmatic and sexy girlfriend Aoife. Thus develops a complex menage a trois that follows. The year…

Book Review: Winterwood by Patrick McCabe

Book Review: Winterwood by Patrick McCabe

This was an unusual little book. I think many people will be familiar with McCabe from his other incredibly popular and critically acclaimed work of literally fiction, the Butcher Boy which was published back in 1992 and subsequently turned into a film. This was the story of a confused and wayward young boy who unwittingly…

Book Review: The Fahrenheit Twins by Michel Faber

Book Review: The Fahrenheit Twins by Michel Faber

I had the pleasure of meeting Michel Faber at the Auckland Writers Festival this autumn. He's a reserved, humble and softly-spoken fellow who was gobbled up by the overly bold interviewer, someone far less important, whose name escapes me. Faber brought with him onto the stage a pair of dainty red women's shoes and only…

Book Quotes that will give you an insatiable desire to read the whole thing

If you're not already a complete recluse and homebody like I am, you will be after reading these book quotes, which are succinct, powerful, compelling and just amazing. There is no need for literary context here, each quote possesses a standalone brilliance that makes it irresistible. Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it…

A tribute to the phenomenal Scottish writer William McIllvanney

A tribute to the phenomenal Scottish writer William McIllvanney

William McIlvanney or Willie to his nearest and dearest was single-handedly responsible for the genre of Tartan Noir, the bleak and rainy Glaswegian streets, grisly crime screnes steeped in whisky and venomous characters that were the stomping ground of characters like Inspector Laidlaw (changed to Taggart for the famous TV show). All other Scottish crime…